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Port Elizabeth - Reeva Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and Janet, were battling to come to terms with their grief in their Port Elizabeth home on Thursday.
Their initial instinct had been to switch off their phones due to the incessant international clamour for details. However, Mike Steenkamp, Reeva’s uncle, would have none of it.
“We have to speak, we have to let this flow,” he said, having caught the first morning flight from Cape Town, where he runs a centre for people recovering from drug addiction.
“Once I took the call, I knew I had to get off the mountain and get here as soon as possible to offer whatever comfort and support I could. We’re a very close-knit family.”
Reeva’s agent, Sarit Tomlinson, first heard of the tragedy on the radio on her way to work.
“I phoned her cellphone. She always answered my calls.”
When there was no answer, Tomlinson tried again and again. She knew instinctively what had happened.
It was only hours later, though, that her worst fears were confirmed. “It’s just madness, there are no words.”
Reeva signed with Tomlinson’s agency, Capacity Relations, in October.
“We had planned an incredible career path for her. There were great opportunities in the television presenting and acting world.
People forget that she wasn’t just devastatingly beautiful, she was also highly intelligent, with a law degree (from Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth).
“She had a natural ability, coupled with a down-to-earth approach. She was such a kind, sweet, normal person, a genuine angel, a pure soul.”
Reeva’s big breakthrough, “her platform to launch her career”, was to have been the Tropika Island of Treasure, due to be flighted on SABC1 TV next week.
Neither Tomlinson nor Reeva’s family had heard anything to suggest that her relationship with Oscar Pistorius was troubled.
“We never knew of any danger or problems in her personal life,” said Tomlinson.
Mike Steenkamp agreed.
Reeva had introduced Pistorius to her parents and to her “Cape Town family”.
“None of us had any qualms about him. There was no suspicion of violence. We’re all devastated,” he said.